Electric cooktops are a common part of most modern households. Having an electric stove defines today’s kitchen. Sure, there are still plenty of home gas stoves across the country, but all you need for an electric cooktop is a power outlet while gas needs pipes and infrastructure. If you have an electric stovetop at home, no doubt it’s performance impacts the quality of your home cooking. Burners that are cool or slow or that cook unevenly are bad for dinner production. This is why it’s handy to know a few tricks that will make your electric stove perform more reliably and more efficiently for each meal you cook.
1. Clean the Burners and Sockets
When electric burners get dirty, they become less efficient. Laters of burnt-on crud in the drip-cups or on the burners themselves reduces the heat transfer and therefore causes food to cook more slowly. A spill on only one side of the burner can also cause the burner to suddenly cook unevenly.
Fortunately, the solution is easy: Soak and clean your burners. Pull each burner out of the socket and drop them into a sink of hot soapy water. Use a brillo pad, scrubbing sponge, or dish brush to scrub the burnt gunk off your burners. Do not use steel wool or metal objects, as many electric burners have a special coating that can be scraped off. You can also clean the sockets with vinegar or alcohol if you notice that they have been dripped on or have become crusty. Dirty sockets can reduce the electric current and cause your burners to cook unevenly or at a low temperature.
2. Swap Around the Burners
Another neat trick is to change around your burners. Sometimes, burners will work better in a different socket, which will be revealed only if you change around which burners are plugged into each socket. You may also discover that a burner works better in its own socket, perhaps simply because you pulled out the burner and set it back into the socket more securely.
Swapping around your burners can also reveal if burners or sockets have burned out if one socket works with no burners, or one burner works with no sockets. This is why burner swapping is a great troubleshooting step if one of your burners seems to be uneven or burnt out. Between cleaning your burners and changing them around, many electric stove problems will resolve themselves.
3. Buy a New Set of Burners
If you seem to have burners that don’t work well in any of the fitting sockets, then you might have a faulty burner or set of burners. The easiest solution is to buy replacement burners that fit the make and model of your stove. Buying a new set of burners is easy when ordering from appliance replacement part suppliers and replacing burners is as easy as swapping them.
When the new burners arrive, simply remove your old burners and slot the new burners into the stove sockets. If the new burners don’t work in a particular socket, that socket is the problem.
4. Soak and Clean the Infinite Switch Knobs
The infinite switch knobs on your stove see a lot of grit and grime. If they are on a panel above your stove, they are constantly covered in aerated cooking grease and catching sauce splatters. If they are below your stove above the oven door handle, they are constantly catching drips and crumbs, the same gunk that builds up on top of the oven door handle itself.
Do yourself a favor, pull those knobs and wash them. That’s right, your oven and stove control knobs come right off. Drop them into a sink of hot, soapy water and scrub the flat panel surface they have revealed with a sponge while it’s all open real estate. Then scrub the knobs once they’ve had a soak. Dry the knobs and return them to their posts.
5. Buy New Switch Knobs
Another option is to fully replace your infinite switch knobs. Why? Because the paint and/or foil tape once used to mark them has long-since worn off and you’ve been turning them by memory for years. We’ve all seen at least one stove with knobs that are so old or dirty that the markings are basically useless. If this is your oven knobs, or if your stove knobs have been half-melted in a cooking accident, just order new ones and pop them right on.
6. Scrub Your Stove with Borax
No matter what your stove surface is made of, burners or glass or enameled aluminum, you can clean it with borax. Borax is one of nature’s finest cleaning substances. It is a natural crumbly stone. It is non-toxic, extremely scrubby, and breaks down into hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water. You would have to eat an extreme amount of this white scrubbing powder to get sick and it cleans everything.
Grease breaks down under a borax-and-water solution. Mold perishes in the face of borax and vinegar. Borax is also an eco-friendly ingredient in many homemade personal soaps and home cleaning solutions. And it doesn’t scratch glass.
So you can use borax as an incredibly cheap, safe, and versatile off-brand of barkeeper’s friend for scrubbing just about everything off your stove.
7. Clean Your Stove Every Single Day
Last but certainly not least, wipe down your stove every day. Every single day that you cook, clean the stove. It sounds tedious but it will be ten times easier to clean the stove and burners same-day than it will be to clean cooked-on mess once a week or month. The more often you pick up a layer of grease and spills and burnt-on drips, the easier that layer will come up when it’s time.
If you really want the best possible performance from your electric cooktop stove, then clean it every day. And remember all the other tricks because we all eventually forget to clean the stove every day, or finally get around to cleaning the knobs as well as the stove surface.
For more great home appliance repair and maintenance tips, contact us today!